The strategies for the unit consist of teaching the students how to read and summarize informational articles, books, and view multiple visual aids like photographs to determine meaning. The reading lessons will focus on conducting and building research skills in order for the students to draw conclusions and make inferences about characters and settings, and build knowledge of the past events. In addition, the students will learn various strategies for note-taking. Other key strategies include teaching the students how to accurately cite information and use it to effectively to elaborate on their journal entries. The students will also need editing and revising strategies, so that they can look at their work to determine if it is grammatically correct. In addition, the unit will teach students how to cite sources.
A great strategy for teaching about how to cite sources and use technology effectively is to ask the Library Media Specialist to co-teach a class with you. He or she can help the students by showing them which sites are trustworthy and which ones are not good to use for information. Other worthwhile strategies include a whole-group lesson on generating good questions to ensure their research is effective. The questions are the key for gathering essential knowledge about the topic of interest. The questions also help students organize their thoughts into categories that they can use later on. Teachers can help students organize their thinking by encouraging them to to ask themselves why this topic is so interesting and what do they need to know about it. It is also useful to encourage the students to think critically about the information they are reading by asking them to make predictions and encourage them to wonder about the materials provided. The key is to find questions that will help guide the research by narrowing the focus, ensuring they understand the topic, and helping them decipher what is the most vital pieces of information that can be taken from the materials.
Another helpful strategy is to teach the students about differing perspectives, since the point of the journal entries is to write from the person’s point of view. Teaching students how to show empathy for the characters, is a great way for the students to write effectively. Modeling how to effectively write one of these journal entries can assist the struggling learners. Students should also have a visual representation of the task, as this will assist those who are visual and auditory learners. Similarly, books that are accompanied by audio are extremely helpful to those who need extra reading support.
Lastly, cooperative learning is a strategy that is often looked over. Teaching students to work together is a huge task. A lot of times students do not want to work with those who they don’t get along with, don’t like, or don’t care to be around. But, teaching students to be tolerant of other students especially unpopular students is an important lifelong skill.